ESPANOLA, N.M. (KRQE) - A district attorney had told a sheriff to stop meddling with a deadly DWI case, saying the sheriff's department has already done enough to damage it.
"This case has presented many challenges to the state based on the investigation by the Rio Arriba County Sheriff's Office," said District Attorney Angela "Spence" Pacheco.
The case involves Juan de dios Cordova, a repeat drunk driver and brother of the former sheriff. Cordova is accused of driving drunk and barreling head-on into a group of motorcyclists near Chimayo last Memorial Day. The crash killed motorcyclist Mark Wolfe and injured two others. Cordova ran from the scene but was later picked up by deputies.
Cordova's defense claims he wasn't behind the wheel because his pickup truck had been stolen. Prosecutors may never be able to disprove that because the pickup truck was destroyed. A towing company said deputies gave it permission to sell the truck for scrap.
State Police released a report earlier this month, blaming the sheriff's office for botching the crash investigation.
Sheriff Tommy Rodella called the state police report a "hatchet" job.
"It serves no purpose other than to place all the blame on our shoulders," said Rodella.
Rodella said he has the proof to show his office had nothing to do with the truck being destroyed, including a forged tow sheet and a vehicle inspection affidavit signed by a state police officer authorizing the tow company to gain the truck's title. Rodella has launched his own investigation into how and why the truck was destroyed.
"The district attorney's office and state police have had ample opportunity to have facts surface and they have failed miserably," said Rodella.
But the district attorney got a judge to bar the sheriff's office from continuing its investigation.
"New Mexico State Police has completed that investigation and now the sheriff's department would like to investigate the state police on their investigation of them," said Pacheco. "The concern of the state is to minimize the amount of publicity prior to trial."
Rodella said he will be filing a motion with the judge on Tuesday asking to be able to continue his investigation.
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